Growth of feline infectious peritonitis virus in a continuous feline cell line is described and evidence for the macrophage-like character of these cells is presented. Under one-step growth conditions, cytopathic changes and giant cell formation were observed 12 h after infection; more than 99% of the virus remained cell-associated 15 h after infection. Viral proteins at the surface of infected cells were detected by immunofluorescence. The exposed antigens were localized on four proteins with molecular weights of 225.5K, 175K, 138K and 25K using radioiodination followed by immunoprecipitation. Another viral polypeptide of 44K (the nucleocapsid protein) was only labelled when the cell membranes had been disrupted. Expression of viral antigens on the cell surface may be a significant factor in the immune pathogenesis of feline infectious peritonitis.


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